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## A powerful analogy

Figure 3 shows two wave-propagation situations.

expref
Figure 3
Echoes collected with a source-receiver pair moved to all points on the earth's surface (left) and the ``exploding-reflectors'' conceptual model (right).

The first is realistic field sounding. The second is a thought experiment in which the reflectors in the earth suddenly explode. Waves from the hypothetical explosion propagate up to the earth's surface where they are observed by a hypothetical string of geophones.

Notice in the figure that the ray paths in the field-recording case seem to be the same as those in the exploding-reflector case. It is a great conceptual advantage to imagine that the two wavefields, the observed and the hypothetical, are indeed the same. If they are the same, the many thousands of experiments that have really been done can be ignored, and attention can be focused on the one hypothetical experiment. One obvious difference between the two cases is that in the field geometry waves must first go down and then return upward along the same path, whereas in the hypothetical experiment they just go up. Travel time in field experiments could be divided by two. In practice, the data of the field experiments (two-way time) is analyzed assuming the sound velocity to be half its true value.

Figure 4 shows how points making up a line reflector diffract to a line reflection, and how points making up a line reflection migrate to a line reflector.

dip
Figure 4
Left is a superposition of many hyperbolas. The top of each hyperbola lies along a straight line. That line is like a reflector, but instead of using a continuous line, it is a sequence of points. Constructive interference gives an apparent reflection off to the side. Right shows a superposition of semicircles. The bottom of each semicircle lies along a line that could be the line of an observed plane wave. Instead the plane wave is broken into point arrivals, each being interpreted as coming from a semicircular mirror. Adding the mirrors yields a more steeply dipping reflector.

Next: Limitations of the exploding-reflector Up: MIGRATION DEFINED Previous: Hand migration
Stanford Exploration Project
12/26/2000